… and some of those lessons can be very expensive. Our “toad” is front wheel drive with a manual transmission. That configuration has an advantage in that with the shifter in neutral, the transmission is disengaged from the front drive wheels and does not spin while being towed down the road. The disadvantage is that you have to shift the gears using the clutch when driving the car.
Lately, the car has been having some shifting problems. A couple of times it took a few minutes of trying before we could get it shifted into reverse. For awhile we thought we were going to have to push it back to get it out of the space. And then the shifting in the forward gears was very labored as well. Gary took the car to the dealership to have it checked out. Then the dreaded call came – the clutch was shot and would need to be rebuilt – a major repair. Gary pursued with them why the clutch would have failed. One, they said the car does have 80,000 miles on it, but then they asked, “do you downshift it through the gears?” “Of course we downshift” was Gary’s reply. The Service Advisor then explained that it is no longer recommend to use downshifting to slow a vehicle, that one should just shift to neutral and slow it solely through braking.
Gary did some research on the internet and also called up a service advisor he knows well and trusts in Detroit. Sure enough, downshifting is not recommended – it is better (cheaper) to use up the brakes than the clutch. So one does learn something new every day. And the cost of this lesson – over $2,500. So if you are one who still is downshifting……………..